Another important place is the Disaster Operations Center. The Disaster Operations Center responds to over 70,000 disasters per year. Now these aren’t all huge hurricanes and floods, many are single family house fires, but they are all important to deal with.
The Red Cross doesn’t send in a fleet of helicopters when these disasters occur, because they don’t own any. Instead, when there is a big disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake, they set up shelters, and prepare to receive people who have been forced to evacuate their homes. The ARC opens shelters in buildings owned by others, and they will often turn a school or library into a shelter. From there they try to get everyone a home. After there are only a few people left they are moved out of the shelter into a motel so that the buildings can be used for their original purpose again. They work closely with other organizations that can help transport people and repair damage as well as many government organizations.
The Red Cross does its best to predict where disasters may occur, but it is very hard. For example, a storm may look like it’s headed for Florida and then the Red Cross will have to call volunteers down there to prepare, but then the storm will move a different way than expected. The Red Cross may then have all of its volunteers in Florida instead of where the storm is heading, and will have to quickly change all of its plans. It is hard to predict the exact path of disasters, but people in the Disaster Operations Center have gotten really good at it and this expertise often ends up saving thousands of lives.
For smaller disasters, like single family house fires, the Red Cross makes sure that the family has food and shelter. They can also give them some money if they lost it all in the fire.
I learned so much about how the Red Cross responds to disasters during my visit. Here are some things you may not have known about the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center:
1. The majority of things the Disaster Operations Center responds to are single family fires or small fires in an apartment.
2. The Disaster Operations Center also responds to things such as terrorist attacks.
3. The Disaster Operations Center doesn’t actually transport people to shelters, it works notifies people where the shelters are and prepare the shelters.